Deadpools, Captain Americas and a myriad of colourful creative cosplay gripped Canberra as the Impact Comics Festival came to life. While wondering through the crowd the awesome cosplay of Milly and Chloe caught my eye and I was lucky enough to get a Q&A with the duo.

Milly and Chloe are a cosplay duo from NSW, Australia. Since 2011 they have been cosplaying together at conventions such as Supanova, Oz Con, EB Games Expo and Pax. Some of their most notable cosplays include: Tali’Zorah vas Normandy and Commander Fem Shepard from the Mass Effect Series and Little Sister and Big Sister from Bioshock 2.

So what exactly is cosplay?

Chloe: Cosplay is short for ‘costume play’, and for me it’s something that allows others to dress up as their favourite character and be that character for that day. Since I was younger I’ve always loved dressing up, so being able to dress as one of my favourite characters from a game or movie is always exciting. Cosplay can also be a good way of challenging your skills; I definitely know that cosplay has pushed me beyond my limits, and I’ve learned a lot from it. Cosplay is also a great way to meet new faces, hang out and socialise. It’s a great community.

Milly: I’m like Chloe in that I’ve also grown up loving to dress up. Having come from a background of dance myself, I have always loved to wear costumes and perform. Now that I am no longer performing on stage, cosplay lets me continue to engage in my passions. Cosplaying is also an art form in itself; it allows me to express myself, to build, and to create and learn new artistic practices along the way. Finally, as a fan of games, comics and movies, I personally cosplay to pay tribute to the creators of the amazing worlds and characters that I have come to admire.

How did you get involved in it?

Chloe: As a teenager I made a few different costumes of favourite characters to try and challenge myself, but only ever wore them to parties or for photos. I discovered others wore costumes together at big events. After attending my first convention I got hooked.

Milly: I haven’t been doing it for as long as Chloe. Having grown up in quite an insular, coastal area I was the only one of my friends that ever showed an interest in pop culture. But, there weren’t any conventions or comic book stores where I lived, so it never crossed my mind that cosplaying existed. It wasn’t until 2010 that Chloe introduced me to the world of cosplay. We had been friends for a couple of years by this point and I was interested in the photos of her costumes, so I decided to join her on her next trip to Sydney Supanova the following year.

Do you remember your first cosplay?

Chloe: My first cosplay was Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas back in 2006, since I had a huge obsession for that movie and anything Tim Burton related.

Milly: 2011 was the first time I went to a convention, cosplaying as a Little Sister from Bioshock. It was quite the rush job, done the week before the con. But it was also the first cosplay that Chloe and I did as a duo. I remember coming home from that con weekend and thinking, “Oh my gosh, there are others like me! I have found my second home!” and I haven’t stopped cosplaying since then.

What type of characters do you prefer to cosplay as?

Chloe: I like to cosplay characters that are unique, and not commonly worn. Like Big Sister and Boys of Silence from the Bioshock series. I loved the unique appearance and eeriness of those characters. I also tend to cosplay characters wearing armour, like Shepard from Mass Effect; the design is distinctive and the character is very capable.

Milly: I don’t think there’s ever one particular reason for why I cosplay a certain character. For me it can be a number of things. Sometimes I cosplay because I admire the character and can relate to them on a personal level. Other times it’s because as an artist myself I love their appearance and design, I want to pay tribute to the character and challenge myself by recreating their outfit; or sometimes it could be due to the simple fact that I am a fan of the source that they originate from. Chloe and I pretty much like the same things so it’s never hard to agree on what to cosplay!

What is the best part of cosplay?

Chloe: For me the best part of cosplaying is expressing my love for the character and dressing up as them for the day. But I also think one of the best parts is being able to hang out with so many others who share the same interests.

Milly: Like Chloe said, all of the above. I love that cosplaying has allowed me to broaden my skill sets and enter a new world that I didn’t know existed. It’s really rewarding to see the reaction you get from your peers after working hard on a costume for a number of months and finally being able to wear and show it off.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start?

Chloe: There’s no limits to who you can dress up as, but I’ve found it’s easier to start on a simpler design and set a budget so you don’t overspend. Plan a realistic time frame for when your costume needs to be completed, so you’re not rushing last minute to make it.

Milly: Who you cosplay is for you to decide, not others. Having said that, know your own capabilities and what toolsets you have available. When in doubt, there are so many ‘how to’ videos that are easy to find online; many cosplayers post tutorials of their work up on Youtube. I would also urge you to join cosplay pages. There are plenty on Facebook, and they are often good sources when wanting to ask questions or seek out advice.

Chloe: Anyone can cosplay, and as long as you’re having fun dressing up then you’re doing it right.

Thanks Milly and Chloe

Next stop for the duo: Supanova 2017.

To see the rest of their awesome cosplay go check out their Facebook page!